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Geoscientist employment improves in Q3

Australian geoscientist employment improved marginally in the third quarter of 2019.

The latest AIG Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey revealed that unemployment amongst Australian. geoscientists fell to 7.4% at the end of September, down from 9.3% at the end of July. The underemployment rate also fell to 14.1%, from 14.9% for the same period.

Australian geoscientist employment – June 2009 to September 2019

The survey results, at a national level, continue a gradually improving trend evident since March 2016, but the rate of improvement appears to have slowed since March 2018.

The number of long-term unemployed geoscientists continued to increase with 47% of unemployed and under-employed geoscientists having little to no work for more than one year, or more than two years for 34% of respondents.

AIG President, Andrew Waltho, welcomed the continued improvement in both the unemployment and under-employment rates, with the reservation that the rate of improvement remains slow. “The most disappointing and serious statistic is the proportion of long term unemployed and under-employed geoscientists” Mr Waltho said. “AIG and kindred professional institutes continue to promote the need to recognise the high-level scientific skills possessed by this pool of experienced professionals that can be applied in a broad range of fields where an ability to understand and interpret Earth systems and processes is valuable”. “In the meantime, AIG continues to provide members with effective and accessible opportunities for members to maintain and expand their professional networks and undertake continued professional development” Mr Waltho said. “Members accessing these opportunities are actively working to resurrect their careers and value this support” he said.

The unemployment and under-employment rates amongst geoscientists in Australia varied substantially between states.

Unemployment amongst geoscientists decreased in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, but increased in Victoria and South Australia. The greatest improvement in unemployment was evident in Victoria. No Northern Territory respondents responded as being unemployed. Too few responses were received from Tasmania for state results to be reported.

Under-employment, defined as respondents being able to attract less than 25% of their desired workload, decreased in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia but increased in Western Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory. The lowest under-employment results was evident in Victoria.

Australian geoscientist unemployment and under-employment by state – September 2019

Almost 71% of respondents reported being full-time employees, on staff or fixed term contracts. Only 3% work part time and between 4% and 5% are casual employees. Self-employed geoscientists comprise 22% of the profession.

Australian geoscientist employment basis – September 2019

Geoscience remains a male dominated profession in Australia.

Some 85% of survey respondents were men and 15% women. One respondent identified with neither gender. There are relatively more women pursuing geoscience careers in Australia in the 0-15 years experience groups, with the highest proportion of women responding to the survey having between 10 and 15 years experience.

Gender diversity in Australian geoscience – September 2019

“Clearly, more needs to be done to attract women to geoscience careers, and retain women in the profession with more than 15 years experience if gender equity is to be achieved” Mr Waltho said. “It’s a serious issue, central to the public recognition vitality of the geoscience profession that will take concerted and committed action by all geoscientists in Australia to address”.

The next employment survey will open for contributions in early January 2020. AIG values the continued support of both members and non-members who take a few minutes to complete the survey each quarter and encourages as many geoscientists working in all sectors of the profession in Australia to contribute.

Q3 2019 Employment Survey open for contributions

Follow this link to complete the survey

The latest instalment in AIG’s Australian Geoscientist Employment survey series will provide data on trends in geoscientist employment in Australia during the third quarter (July to September) of 2019.    

Unemployment amongst Australian geoscientists rose during the second quarter of 2019 but continued a downward trend that has been evident in survey results since March, 2016.  At 30 June, 2019, the latest AIG Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey revealed an unemployment rate of 9.3% nationally, up  from 7.5% recorded three months earlier at the end of March 2019.  

The underemployment rate amongst self-employed geoscientists, however, improved, falling from 20.5% at the end of March to 14.9% at the end of June.

A high rate of long term unemployment and under-employment continued to be a concern, with more than half of the unemployed respondents reporting being out of work or unable to achieve their desired level of work for more than 12 months.

The survey takes only two or three minutes to complete.  You do not need to be an AIG member to contribute.  No data that could personally identify respondents is collected.  Contributions to the survey are required from both employed and unemployed geoscientists to ensure the relevance of results.  Your completing the survey really helps to make a difference to the standing and knowledge of our profession.

The survey will be open for contributions until 26th October 2019.  Every contribution adds to the reliability of the survey results.  

Sincere thanks in advance for your continued support.

Burnout at work

A short overtime sprint won’t kill you but, as data from World War One shows, consistently putting in too many hours at work hurts employees and employers.

A recent BBC report described esearch on working hours that suggests overwork leads to being less productive, not more. It is also associated with increases in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other negative health effects, all of which can take a toll on work-related output.

In 1915, the British government established the Health of Munition Workers Committee (HMWC) to monitor working conditions and advise on matters such as working hours. The committee managed to collect a rich set of data that can tell us a lot about what happens when people work long hours.

The 2015 analysis of this data showed that as hours worked increased, output also increased, but only to a point. Output per hour peaked at about 40 hours of work per week and then fell, despite the extreme national importance of the work being performed.

One-hundred years on, the results of overwork don’t seem to be all that different for knowledge workers. Working too many hours backfires for both employers and employees, whether you measure by decreased outputs, lack of creativity, a drop in quality or poorer interpersonal skills.

More at the BBC Worklife website.

World War One munition factory making shells women weighing steel shells and testing their hardness April 1918 (BBC)

Geoscientist employment: Western Australia at a glance

Click on the image for a high resolution PDF copy.

Geoscientist employment: Queensland at a glance

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